'The body of the old man is in the closet': Texts, selfies lead to arrest in murder

Benito Jose Menesess, 38, faces murder charge

SAN ANTONIO – Selfies and text messages found on a phone found located in a stolen car helped authorities make an arrest in the murder of a 68-year-old man, court documents state.

On Friday, police announced they arrested Benito Jose Menesess, 38, in connection with the Oct. 15 murder of Robert Esparza.

Esparza was found covered in blood at his home in the 300 block of West Harding Boulevard when co-workers went to his home to check on him when he didn't show up to work that morning. Court documents state Esparza died from blunt force trauma.

According to an arrest affidavit, Menesess was seen on Esparza's home surveillance footage lingering outside of Esparza's home in the early hours of Oct. 15. The affidavit states Menesess was seen entering the home shortly after Esparza arrived home.

Investigators noted that Menesess, who was shirtless at the time of the killing, has several distinctive tattoos all over his body. 

Authorities said Menesess emerged from the home approximately an hour and 15 minutes later with a laundry basket of items before leaving the home in Esparza's Chevrolet Equinox.

Hours later, Menesess is seen returning to the home in Esparza's Equinox with another man, the affidavit states. The pair entered the home "calmly" and carried out a number of items, including TVs and boxes and bags of miscellaneous items, according to court documents.

In that time, investigators noted in an affidavit that Esparza was never seen on surveillance footage after the early hours of Oct. 15. 

As the pair prepared to leave, court documents state Menesess got into Esparza's Toyota Tacoma pickup and drove off while the other man took the Equinox.

Authorities issued a BOLO to the public and law enforcement for the Equinox and Tacoma taken from Esparza's home.

On Oct. 16, authorities located the stolen Tacoma in an apartment complex parking lot approximately 5 miles from Esparza's home, the affidavit states.

Authorities obtained a search warrant and located a Kyocera cellphone in the Tacoma, which Esparza's friends and family told investigators did not belong to Esparza. When police searched the cellphone, they said they found selfies of Menesess and text messages, including some about the crime.

Text messages noted in the affidavit include:

"After I broke him. I Showered and cleaned up all the blood and picked up the mess. I got all the TVs in the SUV."

"The body of the old man is in the closet."

"I need a buyer for a riding lawn mower, two plasma tv.s, two I-phones..."

When investigators called a number in the phone, a woman identified Menesess to authorities, providing his name, date of birth and Facebook profile name. The woman told investigators Menesess had confided in her that he had "done 'something' three days ago."

As Menesess was walked before KSAT 12's camera Friday night, he said sorry to his family, as well as Esparza.

He is facing a charge of murder. Police said they expect more arrests to be made in this case.

** PERP WALK: Police are walking a suspect who is accused of murdering someone in the 300 block of West Harding Boulevard on Oct. 15. This is a live event. Viewer discretion is advised. **

Posted by KSAT 12 & KSAT.com on Friday, October 26, 2018